An increasing number of insurance professionals are leaving the industry because of the effects of industry consolidation.

The findings came from human resources consultancy, DBM, which investigated professionals from the financial services sector.

In 2002, nearly half (48%) were forced to leave the insurance sector due to an organisational change, such as a restructuring or merger.

And 15% of those leaving insurance opted to find employment in the service industries, while 7% moved into public sector roles, such as education.

The survey also found that insurance professionals were more inclined than those in other industries to exit the industry in a bid to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

Among those respondents, over 50, 26% chose self-employment as a vehicle for their entrepreneurial plans.

DBM UK managing director Tony Gould said: "Switching industries is a necessary step for many people in transition. Networking proved the key factor in achieving success for the majority of those insurance professionals interviewed.

"The current climate requires job seekers to re-package their skills, be willing to relocate and re-train in order to find employment.

"Insurance professionals are more inclined to leverage their skills and change their area of specialisation."